April 2017

 

Day By Day

April 1-30, 2017

God completes our work.

The emergency call came while I was inside the ambulance restocking bandages on the shelves above the cot: possible heart attack.

The victim was in Atwater, a farming community 15 minutes away. We flew at 80 miles an hour with lights and sirens, zipping past cornfields and barns, past women hanging out clothes and children chasing collies. The training I received as an emergency medical technician flooded my head as the adrenaline flowed through my body. Clear the airway, check the vital signs, check for history of heart disease, et cetera. When we got to the scene I was ready for this man and his heart.

What I wasn’t ready for was a little boy.

People flagged us down at the scene and led us to a backyard where a small crowd clustered around a body. I pushed my way through them and someone pulled the blanket off. I expected an old man. The first thing I saw was a sneaker smaller than my hand. The boy was about seven years old, had blond hair, and was wearing blue jeans. He wasn’t breathing. I lifted his small head and put my fingers on his neck; no pulse. I tipped his head back, pinched his nose, and blew into his mouth. His chest rose like a balloon. Another ambulance attendant started CPR and counted out loud, “One thousand one, one thousand two…”

I scanned the backyard. There was rope at the foot of a nearby tree. No one there knew who the boy was or what happened. My heart was silently screaming, Where are his parents? What is his name? Who is this little boy? I wanted to stroke his blond hair and hold him, talk to him, love him into life, but I had no free hand for comfort, no free breath for words. When I titled his head back, I saw a half-inch-wide red ring across the front of his neck. It stretched from ear to ear. I checked his pupils and looked into the bluest eyes I had ever seen. They were quickly dissolving into black. His skin was still warm, and so, so soft.

With every breath, I breathed in a prayer: God, don’t let this little boy die. Please, let him live. If only I could will him to life, pray him to life, breathe him to life.

The ride to the hospital seemed like both an eternity and a mere second in time. At the hospital, three doctors and five nurses met us at the emergency room door. They hovered over the boy as I stood in the hall, praying for a miracle. I couldn’t even pray for him by name. We had no idea who he was or what had happened. The doctors zapped his heart, pumped oxygen into him, rubbed his limbs for over an hour, but the red ring on his neck never faded. It was as if death left a permanent smile, mocking us all. My ambulance crew didn’t leave until we saw the white sheet of surrender cover him.

I thought of his parents coming home or getting the call. The world would end for them. It wouldn’t matter what they owned, what jobs they held, what their income was. Their son was dead. In the bathroom outside the ER, I punched the wall with one hand and wiped away tears with the other. The next day I read in the newspaper that the child had been accidentally strangled on a rope while playing in a tree.

Every October, I think about that boy. The breath that left his lips had smelled like tomatoes ripening in the sun. Every autumn, when that scent brings him back, I blow him a kiss, wherever he is, and pray for his parents.

There are times in your life when you do the best you can and your best isn’t enough. You don’t get the happy ending. You don’t get the job you wanted or the raise you deserved or the promotion you earned.

You don’t get the high fives and pats on the back and fist bumps. You go home broken and sad and exhausted and wonder what the hell happened. And you don’t get an answer. You just have to go back to work and do your best again and again, without fail, no matter how you think you failed. God completes our work, makes it complete in ways that sometimes remain a mystery to us, a mystery that isn’t ours to solve, but ours to accept.

In my career as a journalist, it has often been my job to interview people about their worst day, I’m not talking about the bad day at work because the copier broke or the boss yelled at you or the vending machine ate your dollar. I’m talking about when the patient dies or the plane doesn’t land the way it’s supposed to or the bad guy can’t be stopped in time.

I’ve never forgotten a flight attendant who shared her story of survival with me. She showed me the uniform she wore the day that United Airlines Flight 232 crashed in a cornfield in Sioux City in 1989. I spoke to her six months after the crash, the week she was to return to work. She held up the uniform she had worn the day of the crash. She wouldn’t wash the dirty white blouse with the gold-and-navy epaulets. The blood on it wasn’t hers. It was the imprint left when a wounded passenger hugged her.

Susan talked about the faces of those who died. They weren’t strangers; they were the women she had chatted with on the plane, the men she had comforted with pillows, the children she had poured sodas for and smiled at. She remembered all those people whose tears she couldn’t stop, who kept crying, “Are we going to die?” Susan kept telling them, “I don’t know. Keep praying.” There’s no way to understand why 112 people died that day and why she lived.

Then there was the police chief in Brimfield, Ohio, who told me about his worst day at work. “January 21, 2005,” David Oliver said, “It wasn’t just the worst day of work. It was the worst day of my life.”

A woman in his small town of 10,000 people had tried to flee her abusive boyfriend. Renee Bauer had her coat on, a bag packed, and was ready to escape with her son, Dakota, who was seven. James Trimble stopped her with his gun. She tried to shield her son, but the bullets went through her and killed him, too.

Renee and Dakota are buried in the cemetery behind the Brimfield Police Department. The chief goes to the gravesite every week.

“It makes me feel I’m taking care of them now,” he said.

The man who killed them fled the scene before police arrived and took a Kent State University student hostage. Chief Oliver remembers trying to negotiate for her freedom. He can still hear the woman slowly spelling her last name for him over the phone. Sarah Positano was shot and died before the police could reach her. Trimble was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.

The chief told me he still loves his job, but to love it, you have to make peace with the things you can’t change and summon the courage to change the things you can. You simply keep doing your best to make a difference wherever you can. He works hard to catch the bad guys, but he also goes to the elementary school every morning to high-five every child who walks in the door. He organizes events like Shop with a Cop, where a hundred children each get $100 to buy anything they want. Or Fill-a-Cruiser, where police park cruisers at area stores and people fill them with toys and food for the local food cupboard. He has breakfast with hundreds of senior citizens so shut-ins don’t feel so alone.

Your worst day at work might scar you for life, but it doesn’t have to scare you away from the work you love. If you let that scar make you stronger, then, in time, it will make the world around you stronger, too.

– taken from the book: “God is always hiring” by Regina Brett

1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ 8The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ 9Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ 11After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ 12The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’ 17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ 23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ 24Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ 25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ 27She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’–John 11:1-27

“Be Courageous and Humble”
– Chapel Theme S.Y. 2016-17

Take care and God bless.

Fr. Benjamin A. Jance III
Registrar and School Chaplain

 

Life Lesson

 

Calendar

Calendar

 

Poems, Prayers and Drawings

Poem, Prayers & Drawings

Poem, Prayers & Drawings

Poem, Prayers & Drawings

 

Happy Easter!

Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Sunday, and marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, the last day of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year.

As we know from the Gospels, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion, which would be Sunday. His resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin and death. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead.

Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar.

In the Gospels, the precise details of the Easter narrative vary slightly, but none of these variances are critical to the main story. In fact, it is argued that the variances are simply matters of style and not substance. Despite the variances, the key aspects of the Easter story all match. Above all, they agree that the tomb of Christ was indeed empty, which is the most essential fact.

Based on direct evidence from the mid-second century, it is believed that Easter was regularly celebrated from the earliest days of the Church.

The Easter date is movable and always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25.

Easter Vigil on Saturday evening, although the services can be lengthy because many sacraments are performed, such as baptisms and Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, during the Mass. Services during the daytime on Easter are shorter and well attended.

Sunrise services are common, people gather before dawn and reflect the arrival of the women at Jesus’ tomb early in the morning.

Traditional family activities like, children hunt for Easter eggs, which are often brightly-dyed hard boiled eggs, though they can be plastic eggs filled with candy or small denominations of money. Candy is a traditional gift for Easter as children often break their Lenten fasts with sweets. Adults tend to share bouquets of flowers, greeting cards, and may gather for a family meal. Such celebrations are often secularized and focused on children and family rather than the religious aspect of the holy day.

 

Brent Cares / Service Learning

Brent School has, over the years kept a strong Service Learning arm as an important part of its holistic approach to the Brent Educational System. Students, teachers, staff and administrators participate actively in the after school activity by giving of their time and resources in reaching out to those in need. The whole school goes into full support mode when the need arises, especially during the typhoon season. The generous time and preparations that everyone gives to those in need are concrete expressions of the values that Brent stands for.

Brent’s Expected School-wide Learning Results touch on the need for self-development, and sincerely reaching out to our community certainly develops the minds and hearts of those in our school. Our current chapel theme of being responsible in all that we do at school and at work reinforces the service-learning element.

Helping another might be viewed as giving of your time and/or of sharing your talents and resources. It is, and more. They are in fact, a two-way street. The child and person who goes out of his/her way in return gets something that contributes to her/his own wellbeing. There is an inherent and almost a spontaneous ‘reward’ that comes from helping one another. Jesus speaks of such reality when He said: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…. truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

Indeed, the joy that one receives in giving far surpasses anything that anyone can ever wish for. “You never know when one kind act, or one word of encouragement, can change a life forever.”– Zig Ziglar.

We do what we can, wherever and whenever we can.
Brent Cares.

 

Holy Family Episcopal Church

Brent Chapel

Holy Family Episcopal Church is a parish of the Diocese of Central Philippines, one of the 7 dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, an autonomous province in the world-wide Anglican Communion.  Our congregation came into being when in 2009 Brent International School, in accordance with the wishes of its founder, Bishop Charles Henry Brent that the school participate in the Church’s mission, opened Brent Memorial  Chapel services to members of the surrounding local communities seeking a regular place of worship, whatever their denomination. The response was quite enthusiastic, and we  were admitted as an Organized Mission at the Diocesan Convention in March 2010 and up-graded to Aided Parish   in March 2012,  Today we form a lively and enthusiastic congregation with an average Sunday attendance of around 60, a thriving Sunday School and a very active women’s group – and our acolytes are second to none!  Services are mostly in English though readings are frequently in Tagalog.  

Our present rector is Father Joe Mock, Academic Director at Brent School, who is assisted by   Deacons Mary Balitog and Jonathan Britt who handle the day-to-day affairs of the parish. Our bishop is  the Right Rev. Dixie Taclobao, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Philippines.

All regularly scheduled services at the chapel are open to both the Brent and the Holy Family communities.  Daily services are: Morning Prayer at 7:15 a.m.. Noonday Prayer at 11:30 a.m. and Evening Prayer at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The  Holy Eucharist is celebrated every Friday at 12:30 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. On Sundays, there is Morning Prayer at 8:30 and a sung Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.  All services are according the the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

 

Organizations

Youth Ministry (Samahan ng mga Kabataang Episcopal)

Our Youth Group is one of the most vibrant elements in our parish life.  They form a local chapter of of the National SKEP of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, and are represented at the National and Diocesan meetings of that Organization.  Members of our youth group also participate in the life of our parish as

  • Sunday School Teachers (see below for Sunday School)  –  Our Sunday School and our VCS (Vacation Church School), under the supervision of Deacon Mary Balitog  is run and taught exclusively by the older youth.
  • Acolytes  –  Composed of young people, boys and girls,  between the ages of 8 and 19, the Holy Family acolytes assist at all parish Eucharists and are otherwise active in the life of the Church.  They are trained and supervised by Deacon Jonathan Britt  

ECW (Episcopal Church Women)  –  Early on, the women, the pillars of our church community,  organized themselves to form a chapter of the ECW and have since then been the heart of the community  . Beyond the traditional ‘women’s’ tasks, which they perform with gusto,  ( washing  and ironing  church linens and vestments, polishing utensils etc)) they are instrumental in organizing most parish social events and  run highly successful  fund raising activities. They meet every first Sunday of the month under the leadership of their elected officers.  

 

Programs

Sunday School

Sunday School

This program aims to provide spiritual nourishment to our youngest members  through  singing,  interactive reading and watching appropriate videos..  Average attendance is between 20 and 30 youngsters every Sunday.   Some Sunday School ‘alumni’  are now  trained Sunday School teacher themselves, while others serve as acolytes and readers.

Scholarship Program (for University Students)

This program,  initiated by Brent School’s  Project Compassion Club supports  a full time college student who is will graduate in April, 2017 and another who is now in her third year.  The program funds come from various Brent School clubs and private sources.

Education Assistance Loan Program (for University Students)

This program aims to support any student from a low-income family who is an active member of the parish and desires to pursue a College Degree.  Support is given in the form of interest free loans to be repaid once the student has graduated and gainfully employed.  The first student on this program will begin third-year studies this year.

Medical Emergency Fund

This program also aims to be able to provide cash for emergency purposes without any obligation from the recipient. This fund is taken from the fourth Sunday offering as well as private sources. Requests for help are evaluated by the vestry.

 

Outreach

Sunday School

Langkiwa

In 2015, the Pitong Gatang settlement from which most of our original members came was relocated in Langkiwa, a good 30 minute walk from Brent Chapel.  Some children still show up for Sunday School on Sunday mornings along with some adults. For those who can’t find the time,   Deacon Mary Balitog visits regularly with the Celebration of Word and Communion one Sunday a month.   

Timbao

Timbao, where some of our members reside, is  located at some distance from Brent School. For those who find it hard to get to us on Sundays,   Deacon Mary Balitog visits once a month to conduct a  Celebration of Word and Communion.

Cavinti (Our Lady of Walsingham Preaching Station)

In 2012 Deacon Jonathan Britt and his wife Grace opened a preaching station on their property in Cavinti, Laguna.  Before long a small but regular congregation was formed which meets twice a month.  Deacon Jonathan conducts a Celebration of Word and Communion first Sundays, and Fr. Joe Mock celebrates the Eucharist on the third.